A Bright Idea: No Child Should Go Without Toys at Christmas!

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As part of my partnership with GE, I received coupons for my GE light bulbs. All opinions posted about my GE Lighting experience are my own.”

Christmas is a special time of year for everyone. Well that’s what we all like to think anyway. We want to believe that it’s a happy time and everyone feels as jolly as we do. Truth is, that’s not the case and there are kids that will wake up to little or nothing on Christmas morning. Sorry to be a downer, but my past has led me to the reality that is life. It makes me sad. 

I told you a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to make a difference this year and that I had a bright idea for change. This week, I put my plan in to action with the help of GE Lighting and Champions for Kids
I changed 8 “cheap” bulbs in my house with GE Energy Smart CFL bulbs and I’ll save $45.29 per year. I decided to take that savings and make a difference in someone’s life. That someone should be a child and I was inspired by the Champions for Kids movement to do just that! I’ve worked with CFK before. It’s always rewarding, and I know that I can make a big difference in a simple way. 
This might get long, but let me tell you a little story. Circa 1996. A young mother with two little girls, 7 and 2. She’s making $8 an hour. She’s working her butt off and she’s pulling her own. Her husband had beat her continually for no reason other than control for their entire marriage. Now he’s in jail for DUI. She’s alone and confused. It’s Christmas time. She’s putting food on the table, there is a roof over their head, they have clothes to wear, but money for Christmas is nonexistent. That mom was stressing out and she cried a lot. Her babies didn’t deserve this. They’d done nothing wrong. They were victims. What could a momma do? Nothing actually. This was the sad reality that was her life. 
Then one night, through her tears, she answered the door to find that her church had found out the behind the scenes story and had loaded up a car full of toys for her girls. And a miracle happened. Their tree was full, Santa still existed, and that momma got the strength she needed to get through the season and make some positive changes in her life. 
That momma was me. And that story still stings and brings joy at the same time to this very day. I cry thinking of my helplessness, and I cry thinking of the generosity of my neighbors. That moment will never leave me, and I don’t want it to. It was powerful. That Christmas morning, as I watched the joy on my girls’ faces, I vowed that I would give back when I was able!
Now, 16 years later, I am in a different place in life. It’s a happy place and my children are beyond blessed. But for others, this is not the case and now we are eager and able to give back. No child deserves to be without toys at Christmas, and I don’t want any other momma to feel the same desperation that I once felt. 
Thanks to this simple inspirational idea from Champions for Kids, we took that $45.29 and bought some toys for children in need. Our house is overflowing with blessings so I gathered some canned goods, clothing the babies had outgrown, and other toys that I’ve been collecting throughout the year and stashing away for a rainy day when I find a deal. We loaded up the supplies and headed to our local United Way which serves the Montgomery Women’s Shelter. This is a place that gives battered women and children a second chance at life. They must be gainfully employed, they pay a scale-based rent, they continue their education, and they start over from scratch but with hope for a brighter future.
I found out that the shelter is completely full right now and that the children served by the center range in age from infancy to teen. I’ll admit to crying more than once even thinking about this, at Walmart in the toy department, and on the drive over, but then a sense of hope filled my heart just walking in the door at the United Way. There is always hope. This shelter offers these women hope that their children will never be hungry, that they will get an education, that they will have a roof over their head, and that they will never see a Christmas without toys under the tree. 
Nestled back in the woods (just like everything else around here) is the office that serves the Women’s Shelter and it is there that the babies and I made our donation.
I always take them with me because it’s important that they understand that they are very fortunate. Their sisters did not have it this good and other children do not either. They actually “get” it and they willingly and happily give away brand new toys and other items that are usually showered upon them. You can view our shopping experience and full donation in my Google+ Album if you’d like to get some more ideas for your own donation.

It feels good to give and it feels even better to know that we will have made even one child smile this Christmas that otherwise might have not. I’d like to encourage all of you to take this SIMPLE challenge! Try this eco-friendly idea, save some money, and make a difference in a child’s life in your own community. It really is as easy as changing out light bulbs.

Visit the GE Energy Savings Calculator to find out how much you could save per year just by changing out your current bulbs with more energy-efficient ones. Learn more about how GE Lighting can save you money and the environment with this lesson plan. Then make the conversion to more energy-efficient lighting. Take that savings and donate to an organization in your community that serves children in need. It’s that simple!

Don’t forget to report your charitable giving. Champions for Kids is on a mission to mobilize 20 million by 2020. It’s a lofty goal, but with all of our help, it’s doable and we owe it to these kids. They need a brighter future, so please light up their lives and remember to report!

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I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™, Champions for Kids, and GE Lighting. #CBias #SocialFabric #GELightingCFK
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Comments

  1. You are such an incredibly strong woman. Thanks for sharing your story. <3

  2. You are a beautiful person and I love how you teach your children, and us all, how to be better.

  3. clgossett says:

    Thanks for the compliment. We are all strong when we need to be. You amaze me on ha daily basis!

  4. Aww…you even brought the new baby?

    I’m so glad that you’re in a place now where you’re able to help out. AND I’m so glad that when you needed it someone was there to help you!

  5. Oh wow, I am tearing up reading this post. Thank you for sharing this with me.

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